NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Starting Monday, families can get financial relief for funeral costs related to COVID-19.
Losing a loved one can be tough enough, but figuring out how to pay for their funeral can be even harder.
"It’s transportation, transfer of remains, the casket or the urn, the marker or the headstone, use of funeral equipment," said Kevin Walters.
The federal government is now offering funeral assistance money for families who buried someone who died from COVID complications after January 20, 2020.
"To help lessen the financial strains, that they may have incurred in what is already a heartbreaking and very difficult time," Walters said.
Kevin Walters is the spokesperson for the Tennessee Department of Commerce and Insurance. He said people will need a death certificate that lists COVID-19 as the cause. Walters said, "And then secondly, a proof of the funeral expenses incurred."
Third, they will need proof of other funds received for the funeral, like funeral insurance. "Depending on what you paid for, and what kind of paperwork you have, FEMA will provide funding up to $9,000."
Unfortunately, scammers have already heard about the program. They’re calling people asking for a fee to help sign them up. If that happens, hang up and don’t give them your personal information. Walters said, "and they take your money, and they leave you holding the bag."
Walters said FEMA will never ask you for your credit card number. "Unfortunately, scammers are guna take advantage of people whenever they are at their lowest," Walters said.
To sign-up for the COVID-19 funeral relief program, you can call FEMA starting April 12. Walters said, "and we hope that families who are experiencing grief and anguish and financial instability, will take advantage of this opportunity."
FEMA has set up a phone line at 844-684-6333 and people can call to apply on Monday. They're in the office 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. answering calls. More details here.
If your family member had life insurance, you can still apply for reimbursement. Documents will need to be uploaded, faxed, or mailed after the application is submitted over the phone.
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